KDI School recently held its annual TEDx talk under the theme of ‘Remake: My World’. While emphasizing the Sustainable Development Goals, two KDI School students presented their views on Remaking their World leveraging the SDGs.
John Kehinde Atoyebi (Nigeria) – Topic: “Human First, Before Colour”
What motivated you to apply as a KDIS TEDx speaker?
“I have seen different editions of the TEDx program organized in different countries. So, on one of those occasions when I was watching the program, I said to myself “Oh, wouldn’t it be a nice thing to be a TEDx speaker one day? So when the KDI School application came out, I felt that it was the right time for me to apply.
I had some issues in choosing the topic. However, I always wanted to talk about racism and inequality in society, especially against black people and of course people of “color.” At first, I felt a bit reluctant to present the topic to the committee as I felt it was a controversial issue and I feared that they might not consider me. So, I drafted something based on what was in my head. It wasn’t difficult to come up with something because I was going to speak from my personal experience. Surprisingly, I sailed through my initial auditions and earned a place at KDIS TEDx. This made me so excited and I was glad that I eventually made it through to the finals. I appreciate the organizers for seeing the potential of my chosen topic and selecting as one of the speakers.”
You’re speaking about Reducing Inequality which is a part of the SDGs. Tell us a little bit about it?
“The problem of incidents of racial discrimination is not only one of miscarriages of justice, but also reflects deep inequalities in our society. When you begin to see people as being inferior to you, as lesser human beings, you are simply saying you are not equal and you come up with this notion of racial supremacy. This is a serious, deep rooted problem in our society which is ubiquitous around the world. What disappoints me the most is that it is not only the blacks that are racially abused, but also people of “other color”. For example, in Western countries, you see how Asians are racially abused. It is a really sad state of affairs. This I believe is an outcome of centuries of institutionalized racism. It has become a systematic thing. We need to constantly make an effort to slay this monster. Institutions are the future, so the future should not be full of inequalities and divisions that define society. For me, as an individual, I believe that I have a lot to give to help solve this problem and be part of the solution.”
How are you planning to work towards reducing inequalities as an individual?
“Back in my country I work in the judicial sector. I plan to support my country to build strong institutions to ensure peace, justice and that the rights of humans are protected at all times. I’ll continue talking about it to keep pushing the message out around the world. I also found that oftentimes most people who facilitate inequality are truly ignorant about the topic, and won’t give anyone the chance to prove themselves otherwise. Some of them feed mis-information to the public, so we need to work with the younger generation to ensure that they learn about this racism. This will lead them to question (and hopefully reject) these ill-informed notions once they start living and growing up in society. So, we need to educate future generations to see every human being as a human being, who has dignity and this will help us to remake our world.”
Paul Zarate (Ecuador) – Topic: “Complicate Yourself to Save the World”
1. What made you decide or motivated you to apply to be a KDIS TEDx speaker?
“The first time I saw some TEDx videos on YouTube, I felt that it was a good opportunity to share a very short but powerful talk. But I never thought that I would do this in English because it’s not my first language. So, when I had the opportunity to apply for the KDI School TEDx program, it was the best thing I could wish for.”
2. You’re speaking about climate action which is a part of SDGs. Please tell us more about this topic that you’re speaking about.
“Globally, climate change is a very important topic. However, society is not giving it the prominence it deserves. Right now, we are facing a climate emergency due to the environmental crisis. I always wanted to be in a position to share information with people about the reality of what is happening in the world. I also want to show people some easy steps they can take themselves to help tackle environmental issues. That is my main objective for speaking at the TEDx talk. So, in simple terms, I wanted to explain why we should care and what we can do to help prevent the myriad environmental crises.”
3. How are you planning to work towards improving climate action as an individual?
“Since I have developed a passion for climate change, this TEDx Talk is just the start of a personal campaign. Going forward, I want to keep giving people information, keep talking about the problem with my friends on social media and with people I’m yet to meet through my journey here in Korea and maybe around Asia. So, I plan to keep raising the issue at every opportune moment and also give people hope that together, through their simple actions, we can actually make an impact. I would like to keep working on my research for developing a new industrial policy. However, in terms of the environmental process, it is actually very complicated. I want to put all my effort into creating this public policy and ensuring that it can be applied in developing countries.”